Retiring in a foreign country can be intimidating. Choosing to live in a new place with its own unique culture is a significant lifestyle change. This is why you want to know upfront what to expect – the good and the bad. We’re here to help you figure out if life in Belize would be a good fit for your needs. Read on for an overview of the pros and cons of retiring in Belize.
The Pros of Living in Belize
There are many benefits of living out your retirement in Belize. These are the top reasons North American retirees decide to make Belize their home.
It’s an Exotic Paradise
Living in Belize provides you with a one-of-a-kind experience. Surrounded by gorgeous beaches and exotic rainforests, you’re sure to adore living in this tropical paradise. Whether you prefer exploring the natural beauty of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef or Mayan caves, visiting ruins rich in history, dining on the local cuisine, or simply relaxing on the beach, Belize offers a wide variety of stunning backdrops.
As a retired American, living in Belize should be well within your budget. Buying or renting a luxurious home is often significantly cheaper than it is in most U.S. cities, and the expenses of daily life are entirely affordable. Fresh foods can be bought for a low price, whether you're cooking at home or dining out, and healthcare is inexpensive. Even shopping for more frivolous goods can net you some fantastic deals. As long as you take the time to learn about how and where to buy things without overpaying and budget responsibly, you can easily maintain a high quality of life in Belize.
It Has an Excellent Program for Retirees
Your retirement savings will go even further if you qualify for Belize’s Qualified Retirement Program (QRP). This grants you tax exemption on income earned outside of Belize and allows you to bring goods into the country duty- and tax-fee. To qualify, you only need to meet a few requirements: You must be 45 years or older, have a regular income of at least $2,000 a month or $24,000 a year, pass a security check, and live in Belize for at least one month straight each year.
Everyone Speaks English
Another convenience of life in Belize is the lack of a language barrier. As the only Central American country with English as its official language, Belize provides easy communication in day-to-day life for Americans. Additionally, all signs, paperwork, and documentation are written in English, making local laws easy to comprehend. Also, Belize’s legal system is based on British Common Law, which makes it familiar and comfortable for American expats to follow.
It’s Close to Home
Yet another advantage of moving to Belize is its proximity to the U.S. With several major airlines offering regular flights, it’s simple for you and your visiting friends and family to get to Belize. As Belize borders Mexico to the south, trips are quick and easy and can run just over 2 hours from southern U.S. cities.
The Weather Is Ideal
One of the biggest appeals of Belize is its tropical climate. If you’re tired of harsh winters, you'll enjoy year-round temperatures in the 80s F. Even if you aren’t the best at handling extreme heat, rest assured that even in the summer, Belize typically only reaches the mid-80s and the northern part of the country, where Orchid Bay is located, enjoys cooling winds.
Overall, Belize’s weather is consistent year-round, but there are two main seasons: wet and dry. Even the rainy season, taking place from June through October, is not particularly cruel, with the rain usually falling in short bursts after sunset, so you can still enjoy plenty of sunshine during the day. The northern part of part Belize, where the Orchid Bay community is located, has only about a third of the rainfall experienced farther south.
You’ll Be Surrounded by Friendly People
One of the most important aspects of choosing a place to live is the community of people you’ll be interacting with every day, and Belize is known for its welcoming and outgoing locals. It’s easy to socialize and make friends in Belize, as everyone speaks English. Also, you’ll be living among plenty of fellow Americans. Communities like Orchid Bay are full of other expat retirees who can offer plenty of advice for life in Belize and serve as companions as you explore the country.
The Cons of Living in Belize
No country is perfect, and Belize also has some not-so-good aspects to it, which expats should keep in mind.
It’s Less Developed than Other Countries in the Area
Belize is not as developed as other Central American countries, such as Mexico and Costa Rica. There are no large department stores, so you’ll need to do your shopping at smaller shops or hop across the border to Mexico. Services like home and auto repairs will likely not meet your expectations due to the cultural lack of urgency to get things done promptly. Also, it may take longer to get where you're going due to its less developed infrastructure.
The good news for those looking to live in Orchid Bay is that the Government of Belize recently announced that construction would begin on the $50 million Corozal-Sarteneja Road Project. The new road will include bridges between Orchid Bay, Corozal, and Sarteneja, which will provide quicker and easier access to get to the community and travel within the country. It will make the regional airport in Northern Belize only minutes away from Orchid Bay.
Healthcare Is Not as Advanced
While you’ll be in good hands seeing a doctor in Belize for minor issues, treating severe health problems may require you to cross the border to Mexico. Medical facilities in Belize are not as advanced as the U.S. and Mexico, and you don’t want to cut corners when it comes to your care.
The easiest workaround is seeing doctors outside of Belize. Some expats return to the U.S. every so often to see doctors there, and nearby medical facilities in Mexico are also recommended. Living in Orchid Bay means it’s a quick trip to Chetumal, so you won’t need to worry about traveling a long distance to get the medical care you need.
Island Life Can Get Busy
As you retire, you are likely looking for a place that can offer you peace, quiet, and relaxation. Of course, like most Latin American countries, Belize is known for its partying culture, especially on Ambergris Caye. Your neighbors might be awake until early morning hours, listening to loud music as they continue to socialize with friends. There are, however, less crowded and, therefore, quieter regions like Corozal and Orchid Bay, so you can find more peaceful areas if you look in the right places.
Where Should You Buy a Retirement Home in Belize?
There’s no place to retire in Belize quite like Orchid Bay. It’s a gorgeous haven right on the beach spanning seven miles of coastline. It’s the best place for you to relax and soak in the sun with access to on-site amenities like a boat dock, beach club, restaurant, pools, and walking trails. You’ll also appreciate the community’s modern conveniences, including reliable electricity and internet service.
There are different types of homes to choose from in Orchid Bay to best meet your needs and budget. There are Beachfront Condominiums, Bungalows, and Beach Villas. Starting a new life in Orchid Bay is also affordable, thanks to the Paradise Payment Program for buyers who qualify, and the option to rent out your home through Orchid Bay’s Rental Program. Whether you’re looking to move to Belize part-time or full-time, Orchid Bay is a home where you and your loved ones can make lasting memories in paradise.
Contact us today to learn about how you can best enjoy your retirement in Belize and all the benefits that Orchid Bay has to offer retiree homeowners.